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2011-12 NHL Season Preview: Philadelphia Flyers

Key Offseason Additions: Ilya Bryzgalov, Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek, , Brayden Schenn, Jaromir Jagr, Maxime Talbot

Key Offseason Losses: Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Kris Versteeg, Ville Leino, Dan Carcillo

Last Season Ranking: 2nd in the East

Mike Richards and Jeff Carter won't be partying anymore as both players have been traded to different teams.

Offense: It is hard predicting all that the Philadelphia Flyers can achieve this year offensively with the massive amount of trades that happened during the off-season. Captain Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Kris Versteeg all parted ways in the Flyers remodel. Together, the three combined for 80 goals, 98 assists to total a whopping 178 points. Simply put, that is a lot of points lost.

Flyer’s fans will be happy to know that the incoming class will most likely pick up the slack and put forth a mighty good effort in out-doing their predecessors. Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek are both solid two way players that will bring a lot of heart to the game. Veteran Jaromir Jagr is a wild card but is coming off of a slightly higher than point per game season in the KHL as well as a head turning display in the World Championships for the Czech Republic. Throw in gritty, get-under-your-skin-and-draw-a-penalty Maxime Talbot and the Flyers are starting to look like a good mix resembling that of the Stanley Cup Champions Boston Bruins.

The Flyers still have one more asset from the off-season trades and that being young Brayden Schenn. Schenn only played 8 NHL games last season for the Los angeles Kings but still managed to produce 2 assist and 11 shots. His Junior career was spent with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL where as a rookie, he not only lead the team in scoring, he lead the league amongst all rookie scorers with 28 goals and 43 assists to total 71 points in 66 games played. It is still yet to be determined if he will be playing this season, but the future for the organization has a definite plus side with him in it.

The Flyers still have a very solid core, made up of Claude Giroux, Danny Briere, Scott “Carrot Top” Hartnell and recently extended contract James van Riemsdyk. It is important that the four of these players not only assist the new players in learning how to play Broad Street Bully hockey, but also be able to adapt to new line-mates.

Defense: Philly’s defense did not change nearly as much as the offense, as a matter of fact, only 1 new defensive player has been added to the roster. Big 6’3″ Andreas Lilja, who played last season with the Anaheim Ducks and most known for his years with the Detroit Red Wings, will be looking at limited ice time unless he can earn more.

Ilya Bryzgalov looks to be the solid goaltender the Philadelphia flyers have been missing

The team will once again be coddled by veteran and Stanley Cup winner Chris Pronger. Pronger is coming off of an injury plagued season. Pronger underwent two recent surgeries, a plate and pins inserted in his right hand and disk fragments removed from his lower back. It is expected that Pronger will not be ready in time for training camp, but stated his hand which is limiting the majority of his weight training, is between 80 and 85 percent healed.

Overall, the Flyer’s defense looks as good as last year, which saw them as 11th best in goals against average with 2.63. That stat will most likely improve…

Goaltending: Perhaps the biggest move of the off-season was the addition of net-minder Ilya Brzygalov. Bryz played for the Phoenix Coyotes, and in leaving, most likely burned some bridges. But that really doesn’t matter now as becoming the number one goalie over Sergei Bobrovski, Ilya has said all the right things to Philly fans. “This is a team with rich history,” Bryzgalov said. “The highest goal is to win the Cup. That’s what this game is all about. That’s all that matters.”

Could Bryzgalov take the Flyers to the promised land? Not sure, but being known as a somewhat difficult teammate, it will be interesting to see if the Flyers later down the road want to dump him as they did Richards and Carter, only to be denied by his 9 year, $51 million dollar deal taking him to 40 years of age.

HWB Playoff Prediction: Playoff bound.

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